Photograph by Amanda O’Donoughue

when I was brave,

I beat a flutter-tempo against the skin drum

of my mother’s scuppernong belly,

me inside, the translucent fruit, mellowing

from the early tartness at the first-of-season.


When I was five

and my brother was brave,

our mother would rest half a tumbler of watered wine

on the firmness of her roundness

that pressed against breasts

and bladder and lungs,

drinking the red, sipping it like jewels,

laughing at the glass balancing on its own there.


In my fourth decade, I am brave all over again,

and I drink a quarter glass in my turn,

and though the midwife says “Don’t tell me” when I do,

she admits wine is a human thing.


Red wine and chocolate for longevity,

for craving’s satisfaction, for courage and endorphins.

Grapes split on teeth in summer,

but press to feet in their season—

a purple flow that starts with seeds,

comes to lips, to darkness, then light—

the pulp and flesh becoming over time.

SAMARA GOLABUK is a two-time Pushcart nominee whose work has appeared in Strong Verse, Peacock Journal, The Whistling Fire, 5×5, and others. She has two children, works in communications and marketing, has recently returned to university to complete her BA in Creative Writing, and is a long-time member of The Scribe Tribe, a weekly poetry writing and workshop group.

AMANDA O’DONOUGHUE is a portrait photographer living in Tallahassee, FL. She spends her days raising her two young sons and exploring the abundant natural resources that North Central Florida has to offer. She has extensive experience with documentary birth photography, mother & child fine art portraiture, and commercial work. More at www.amandaodonoughuephotography.com or at her personal project shedding light on post-partum depression, www.partum.me.